Residential age care is big business. The Aged Care Financing Authority estimates the sector requires an investment of $31 billion over the next decade. Most of this will come from the private sector.
The bipartisan ‘Living longer living better’ reforms have decreased regulation in age care homes. Vulnerable older people are now ‘consumers’ in a market based system.
Deregulation serves the interests of providers not residents.
Paradoxically private providers of age care homes lobby for a decrease in regulation and an increase in government subsidies. Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), the peak body representing private providers, is using images of money bags to promote their funding workshops to optimise government subsidies. This ad suggests that profits trump residents’ care.
Recent calls for camera surveillance in age care homes divert the focus away from the need for systemic change. The care of older Australians is too important to be traded on the market like any other commodity.
First published as a letter to The Age 2 August 2016